Developing Strategy in an Agile World

shallow focus photo of chess set

Strategy tends to be a long-term focus and alignment to create steady growth. With uncertainty in so many markets these days, “long-term” is the end of this quarter. We want to take a more agile approach to strategy, in order to ensure future success.

Strategy is a hypothesis that the organizational focus on a go-to-market approach will result in sales and/or productivity. Historically, most organizations align around one go-to-market strategy. In today’s world, you want multiple go-to-market strategies. Each one is a test to see what the market responds to, right now. Similar to the idea behind Pop-Up shops, testing the demand for a new product or service is essential in this agile world. The key is understanding the unique buyer in each potential strategy.

Your Secondary Market
Review sales over the last 18 months. What segment of the market is secondary to you? How are these buyers different from your core? How do they use or access your product and services differently? What are the pains and gains that you predict for this market? Now, create a separate go-to-market strategy for this group, as if it was the only strategy to use going forward.

The “We would never do that” Situation
In every organization, there is one idea that we do not want to surface, because of the fear of what that product or service would have on our core product. Like Kodak resisting digital to hang onto film, our clinging to the past may be the kiss of death. Take a page from the pharmaceuticals industry. They make their own generics to maintain total revenue. They recognize that if they do not produce and sell the generic, someone else will. Identify a different buyer you are not currently selling to, then design the strategy for the product or service they are looking for.

Leverage the Core
While you are pulling out all the stops to address new and emerging markets, there is still a core set of customers still using your current product and services in your traditional way. The key is to recognize these customers who are not likely to switch to a different approach, then refocus on this core. Since you have the other strategies, this go-to-market strategy can be more focused than in the past. Really speak to that loyal customer without worrying about a wider net.

This multifaceted go-to-market strategy is not the shotgun approach of “spray and pray.” It’s a multiple-target approach where you know that success may or may not work for each one. This is where your agile, “fail early and often” approach comes into play. As a leader, you want to Connect the Dots for the whole organization on how this new type of strategy provides the agile approach to an ever-changing marketplace.